Night Classes

Night Classes

One of the decisions everybody has to face at Loyola is whether to take once a week night classes or take the same class at a more regular time. There are some pros to night classes and some cons. I thought I would take a minute to address some misconceptions about night classes, since this semester I am taking more night classes than I ever had before.

First, I’d like to address a stigma. As a Freshman, I always frowned upon Juniors and Seniors who were enrolled in night classes. I couldn’t figure out why, but I disliked the idea. I think that it reflected a very non-college attitude. To me as a Freshman, the college experience was about being in classrooms all the time, like in college, and taking night courses seemed like a way of avoiding going to class.

In fact, I always wondered what it was about upperclassmen that made them more prone to enrolling in night courses. I can tell you why I’ve done it, and I think other people my age would agree with me:

  • Once a week classes are more convenient for work. I’ve learned that it is too hard to have a job and/or an internship if you maintain a “typical” college schedule. Your classes are going to be either 50 minutes long, 3 days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or 75 minutes long on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Employers aren’t going to be able to schedule an employee for such short periods of time on such an irregular schedule. Instead, they prefer to have you putting in chunks of hours at a time, in more predictable patterns.

However, this rational for night classes was well understood by me early on. But as a Freshman, I believed that someone in college should focus on school work and make accommodations in other parts of their life. It seemed as if upperclassmen were focusing on other parts of life and making accommodations in college. But now I’ve learned:

  • Night classes do not run against a pro-college atmosphere. I’ve learned that college atmosphere isn’t restricted to class time. In fact, if you think college is all about the classroom, then you’re doing it wrong. I’ve written already about how beneficial it is to visit professors in their office hours. A college atmosphere is an environment of shared learning and exploring. I’ve learned that night classes give you the time to go out and do some exploring on your own.

So here is how my attitude has evolved from Freshman year to now. I think that as an underclassman, it is hard to adjust to a college lifestyle. One of the best ways to become ingrained in the academic culture here at Loyola is to spend a lot of time in class with your peers and professors. In this situation you’re becoming acclimated with the higher education system as it is there to guide you.

By the time you become an upperclassmen you will have adjusted to college life well, and need to begin exploring on your own. At this point, the higher education system is there to support you and be leaned upon for resources, not to guide you. So as a Senior, I enjoy night classes because they give me time to work towards my own goals. I am still learning valuable lessons, but I teach myself more often now.

That’s my advice; avoid once a week classes as a new undergraduate so that you can take advantage of the guidance Loyola offers. Once you’ve been here a couple years, take the extra time in the week to learn on your own and practice the learning techniques you gained in the first few years.

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